Facing a most serious threat
Our commitment to survival
Even as I prepare to leave for Geneva to participate in a Global Journalism Network Training Programme on Climate Change, there is good and bad news in the news today. First the bad news, Bangladesh has been hit by yet another tropical cyclone. The death toll is above seventeen hundred people and rising. It underscores the vulnerability of poor and geographically-challenged nations.
The good news is that the Nobel prize winning Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change has adopted a landmark report warning that the effects of global warming are already visible, accelerating, and potentially irreversible.
It is a time for tough decisions for policy-makers and implementers at the helm of governance. It is also a great challenge for the world’s mass media professionals to understand solutions and come up with specific plans of action to galvanize world public opinion to action.
Climate change will compound the problems of poor housing and shelter for vast populations who live in imperiled areas. Without serious reforms in land use policy, energy policy and improvements in governance, the quality of life of the next generation of many Asian nations will be held hostage by the cycle of poverty-disasters-disease.
Doing a better job of understanding the solutions to climate change will depend on media’s ability to seize opportunities for shaping public opinion. The inputs and commitments from scientists and policy-makers is critical to this process. But in the end, this will boil down to our own commitment to addressing what may well be the most serious threat to the survival of the human race.